Glastonbury – commercialisation is more pernicious than suppression

COMMENT –  This was too long to read it all, but let me just say as someone who welcomes people from all over the world there every year.
It still is an alternative festival, spiritually politically and economically, what i mean by that is all types of talks on various spiritual philosophies are welcome, political views outside of the mainstream strangehold and even swapping and barter instead onf monetary
schemes are discussed.
Micheal eavis is still the figurehead but it is now owned by a conglomerate with goals of moneymaking which is far from that intened, i dont think anyone takes the BBC seriously, and in fact talking to old timers it was seen as a bit of a joke through W W II.
Remember the guardian newspaper funds glasto, the guardian is mainstream and supported by Intel, so although many radicals and old hippies do go there, all events are secretly filmed and controlled now 

Tuesday 2 July, 2013. Text: Cyrus Bozorgmehr.
THE MALIGN MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF GLASTONBURY AND OTHER EVENTS
Watching the coverage of the Glastonbury Festival on the BBC, one had to wonder from the tenor of the anchors, how we had ever reached a point where a seminal music event could be presented in such a generic, bland and quite frankly condescending fashion. How did an event that had such deep roots in counter culture become so utterly bourgeois and infantile? Was it the event itself that had changed beyond recognition or was it the way it was presented to the viewing public that had skewed perspectives? The answer certainly embodies elements of both, but it got us thinking here at DJB; what is the role of the mass media in shaping how huge music events are seen, and critically, what effect is the media’s ever increasing embrace of dance music having on underground currents?
Genuinely emotive, groundbreaking music has forever been rooted in struggle and social change.  From former slaves rebuilding a core identity through jazz and blues to the lyrical liberation of the 1960s, the balance between rebellion and proactive subculture has always been at the heart of a generation’s soundtrack. The ‘establishment’ has long dealt with new waves of music through an uncertain mixture of bemusement, moral outrage and grudging acceptance, but as the media grows increasingly sophisticated and corporate agendas drive trends, how is the public perception of ‘underground’ music being shaped today?
EDM and the Europeanism Agenda

Three letters leap to mind; E, D and M. For Americans, EDM is a simple acronym to define the genre of electronic dance music, yet in Europe the outpouring of frustration, bitterness and even betrayal over what EDM represents is palpable. There is an element of smug Europeanism in play, but ultimately, the visceral reaction against the ‘EDM’ explosion comes from the sinking feeling that a movement that changed the lives of millions and was critically built from the ground up is being co-opted and exploited by corporations and the mass media.
Commercialisation is
an infinitely more
pernicious force
than
suppression 
The interesting point though, is that while Europeans and people steeped in acid house, rave and dance music culture are fulminating about the Americans selling it all down river, their very perceptions of what constitutes the ‘American scene’ are defined by the mass media. We watch
 events like the Electric Daisy Carnival from Las Vegas and despair over the shameless DJ antics on stage at Miami Ultra. We watch producers who should never have been let near a live performance outstretch their arms like the Second Coming, plaster an ejaculatory look on their faces and furiously fake some theatric knob twiddling. We stare out over stadiums full of white middle class youth that would have been listening to commercial rock 20 years ago and await a formulaic headbanging drop. But have we learned anything at all about what is really going on within American dance music culture, or are we merely falling into a trap set by the media and our own cynicism?
Commercialisation is an infinitely more pernicious force than suppression. What is happening to dance music today is arguably far more destructive than the iconic Criminal Justice Act. Repression breeds rebellion and keeps the flame of identity burning bright while commercialisation slowly sterilises and strips subcultures of their power; but only if we allow the media to define our own understanding.  
The problem with the mass media covering any large scale music event is that they are inherently guided by two principles; mass appeal and lowest common denominators. They will always take Tiesto or Avicii over a lockdown set by someone genuinely pushing barriers on a small stage somewhere. In doing so they create a self fulfilling prophecy of perception that makes those events seem like they are only about the most commercial acts, whereas anyone who has actually been to a big festival well knows that some of the most memorable experiences are to be found on the fringes.  Just because the media implies that the American EDM scene is all glitz, razzmatazz and pre recorded sets doesn’t make it objectively true.

Who is to say that in the back streets of Vegas, there aren’t basements throbbing to the sound of raw authenticity until we’ve actually been there to check it out? Therein lies the problem, someone who has only ever heard of David Guetta won’t know to look beyond the main stages and someone who considers themselves a die-hard member of the underground won’t go near the event as they have judged it on how it is presented. This is a key issue, people from within niche scenes are allowing themselves to write off whole swathes of dance music culture without ever having set foot in the places in question and in doing so, are permitting the media’s stamp on truth to prevail. It is a surrender to assumption and the very forces of corporate illusion that we claim to so cannily oppose.

If we don’t believe 
the television when
it tells us about
politics why do
we believe it when
it tells us about the
current state of
musical culture?
If you allowed your perception of Glastonbury 
to be defined by the abysmal
BBC coverage of the
event you would instantly
dismiss it as a
bland pop festival 
Media and Subculture
Once upon a time it was easy. We all shared a subculture, the tabloids dismissed us all with shrill hysterics, the police cracked down on us, the politicians actually legislated against us, but that subculture always remained ours. Money was a limited consideration, not least because alcohol consumption plummeted with the rise of acid house and rave and no external forces saw much advantage in their involvement and so we were pretty much left to our own creative, open source devices. Today, everyone wants a piece of electronic music. It is pop music, it is going the same way as hip hop which went from Public Enemy to perfume ranges in a decade, and its cultural charge is being neutralised as the mainstream smothers it.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.
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3 Responses to “Glastonbury – commercialisation is more pernicious than suppression”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This was too long to read it all, but let me just say as someone who welcomes people from all over the world there every year.
    It still is an alternative festival, spiritually politically and economically, what i mean by that is all types of talks on various spiritual philosophies are welcome, political views outside of the mainstream strangehold and even swapping and barter instead onf monetary
    schemes are discussed.
    Micheal eavis is still the figurehead but it is now owned by a conglomerate with goals of moneymaking which is far from that intened, i dont think anyone takes the BBC seriously, and in fact talking to old timers it was seen as a bit of a joke through W W II.
    Remember the guardian newspaper funds glasto, the guardian is mainstream and supported by Intel, so although many radicals and old hippies do go there, all events are secretly filmed and controlled now

  2. Nixon Scraypes says:

    The “underground” was controlled opposition from the beginning run by upper class phonies.I was there,it was a joke.Of course there were genuine people involved but mostly it was just like”Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and Dave McGowan’s Laurel Canyon series.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i did not understand the point the author wanted to make here but i will tell youa little story about glastonbury festival.
    My son whose 17 and his freind kept banging on about going, i did not want them to go unsupervised so i went along as well, just to keep an eye on things, well i was pleasantly surprised the weeks and weeks of effort getting art exhibits ready was astonishing, but i woke up secong day with my dodgy shouler hurting like billy-o, they said there was a specil healing field there, and i did not want anything alternative but was desperate, so along i went and a girl gave it massage with some funny smelling oil, after wards i amazed for the first time in months i had no pain, she told me i neded a ful osteopathic workout, which i then had and it felt amazing !
    I then had my hands read bya palmist, i would never in the ordinary way do this but i wanted to try it before my son had hid go.
    Astonishing, the little old guy told me * i broke me arm in an accident in my 20s, true a taxi turned in the road and knocked me of my bike.
    * i had been married twice, which was true, * and my grandfather died of atherosclerosis, and my father suffered badly from angina, now i went to medical school and i am damned if i now how he knew these things among many others.
    So i would say do the festival yourself before judging.
    Michael harris and jon aged 17

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